Against Solar Energy

Solar power — By Stephanie on February 22, 2009 at 6:19 am
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Are you for or against solar panels?

Its 2009, who would really be against solar energy in this day and age?  Would you believe me if I told you some environmentalists?  Really?  With climate change and global warming headlines blaring across headlines, you might find it hard to believe that solar power is not necessarily popular among greenies.

Just a few months ago, a startling report was published in the New York Times.  It revealed the fact that, even though solar power is quiet, clean and renewable, some people are opposed to solar panels:

“The opposition is particularly strong in Southern California. Aside from abundant sunshine and virtually cloudless skies, the California desert has altitude, so there is less atmospheric interference for the sun’s rays, as well as broad swaths of level land for installing equipment, and proximity to large, electricity-hungry cities.”

The reasons for concerns are myriad.  But among them include concerns regarding the installations of solar panels in areas where people and wildlife live.   When panels are installed on the ground (as opposed to on rooftops), they may take up a lot of area.  Some people find the installations aesthetically displeasing.  Others worry about disrupting migration routes, or even upsetting animals that live where solar panels are envisioned.

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No need to be against solar panels

The Bureau of Land Management considers many applications for solar panels on its lands.  In fact, among the currently proposed projects land totaling nearly 80,000 acres of land near Joshua Tree National Park would be covered.  What would this mean to me and you?

Recently, the total number of applications across the nation have increased.  The so-called flood of new solar projects not only caught governmental agencies off-guard, but also environmentalists:

“For the entire United States, the total number of applications is far greater, growing from zero less than two years ago to more than 125 projects with a combined electrical potential of 70,000 megawatts, the equivalent of the electrical capacity of about 70 large coal-fired power.”plants.”

One of the reasons why environmentalists are so concerned about solar installations in California is that there is a new law in that state that calls for 20% of its energy to come from renewable resources by 2010.  That gives the state just one year to build up its resources, and has resulted in a flood of new solar energy proposals.  The time pressure and land requirements are one thing, water resources are another:

“In addition to obstructing views and disrupting habitats, large solar power projects take a toll on the desert’s scarce water supply, environmentalists like Mr. Harvey said. Mirrors and solar panels have to be washed, and some solar projects incorporate steam turbines, which require even more water.”

In addition to water concerns are issues related to chemicals that inhibit plant growth so as to prevent the blockage of solar panels.  If back-up generators are employed, concerns about fossil fuels are raised.

As many benefits as there regarding solar energy, there are naysayers who question whether its worth the investment and time.  Read both sides and know that there is no perfect answer for our electrical demands these days.  For every list of negatives, you can find a number of positives, too.  Weigh the evidence and make up your own mind.

Still, I am curious.  Raise your hand if you’re against solar energy, or if you are for it!

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  1. Bridget says:

    I am most definately for solar energy!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hooray Bridget! Me too!


  3. well they are slightly prettier than wind farms! I hadn’t realised that they had got so large scale in SCal. In Australia we produce less power from the sun than Germany does – go figure- nothing to do with the politically powerful coal industry I am sure!
    In Western Australia there you can install solar and get paid for money you put back into the grid – which is starting to get a lot of rural properties particularly onto solar.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Hi Lissie, True, true! I find it amazing that Germany is such a leader in solar energy, where other countries have more sun. The power of political pressure, I guess. Love to hear about Australia’ solar efforts!

    Thanks, Stephanie

  5. Stefani says:

    Im not for solar energy it takes up to much land and it upsets the animals that live in the area where the panels are put! The panels take up too much energy, power, time and it takes water from places where there isn’t enough. And we can only get energy during the day the solar panels are useless during the night.

  6. Diego says:

    There alyaws be people against anything, I can bet if you look around you will find someone thais agains world peace or against educate peolpe or feed them.

    But is part of the growth of a technology tu gave this kind of people. Solar Energy Rocks

  7. Deborah Gale says:

    As conscientious environmentalists for over 30 years, my husband and I saved for years and finally had solar panels installed for our electricity this May (2010). A percentage of the cost was paid directly by our local energy provider, Long Island Power and Light, LIPA.
    We do not have air conditioners and are a working couple with no children living at home. Our usage is very low. Even in past summers our highest bills never exceeded $120 in a given month – the winter bills are far lower. We looked forward to helping our fellow man and generating a great deal of power, especially during the long summer days. There have been almost no rainy days this summer.
    Since having the solar meter installed, our bills curiously show that our usage has more than doubled!!! Our installer shows the system working at greater than 100% efficiency and the utility company insists it’s because the summer was unusually hot. Seems to me that’s how they recoup their “rebate” portion of the installation costs.
    We were originally told the savings on our bills would pay for the system in five years. At the rate it’s been going it will not be paid for in my lifetime. What that means is, according to the monopoly owning our meter, we’re not even generating enough energy to support our own usage. All of these things are taken into account in determining the size system needed, yet, we’re out many thousands of dollars and not doing any good for the environment after all. What other false information are we being fed?

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